Vara opposes proposals for a Cambridgeshire-wide Primary Care Trust
Shailesh Vara has written to Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health, urging her to reject the proposal from the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) for a Cambridgeshire-wide Primary Care Trust (PCT).
Shailesh Vara, Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire, has written to Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health, urging her to reject the proposal from the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) for a Cambridgeshire-wide Primary Care Trust (PCT).
Mr Vara has asked the Secretary of State to look instead at creating a single Peterborough PCT, which would be able to build on the good work already being carried out in the City. The integration of Peterborough Social Services into the local PCT structure, which was highlighted by the Government as a case study of excellence in its White Paper Our Health, Our care, Our Say: A New Direction For Community Services, is a prime example of this.
Mr Vara said:
"The proposal from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA to create a Cambridgeshire-wide PCT misses the point. Big is not always better. In fact, there is a danger that in creating a larger unit, the PCT will be less responsive to local health needs. That is one of the reasons why so many local residents have contacted me to express their concern at this proposal.
"There is also a danger that in the current financial climate the Peterborough PCTs, with their record of sound financial management, will see their resources used to subsidise other less well performing parts of the Health service.
"Before a final decision is made, I hope that the Secretary of State will remember that Peterborough's arrangements were held up as an example to all in her own recent White Paper which looked at the provision of health services in local communities."
Copy of Mr Vara's letter to the Secretary of State:
The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP,
Secretary of State for Health,
Department of Health,
24th April 2006
I am writing to express my concern at the proposal submitted by the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority to create a single Cambridgeshire-wide PCT, of which Peterborough will be part. I am opposed to that proposal, and in support of a single Peterborough PCT, for the following reasons:
• Greater Peterborough Primary Care Partnership, made up of North Peterborough PCT, South Peterborough PCT and Peterborough City Council Adult Social Services, is one of the very few organisations in the country that has formally integrated all aspects of adult social care provision into an NHS Primary Care Trust. Adult social care commissioning, strategic planning and performance management functions have also been integrated. With already successful integration in mind, a PCT with boundaries contiguous with the City Council surely makes most sense.
• This integration saw Peterborough highlighted in the Government White Paper, Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services, as a case study of excellent practice (p138). Why should a model of excellence be changed?
• Big is not always better. In fact, by creating a larger PCT, the proposed Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Trust will be less responsive to local concerns.
• Peterborough's PCTs have an excellent record in terms of both service and management. There is the distinct possibility that Peterborough's PCTs solid financial record will be used to subsidise other, less well managed PCTs.
• Other SHAs have supported PCTs co-terminus with similar sized unitary authorities (e.g. Torbay, Portsmouth or Blackburn and Darwen). It is worth noting that Peterborough City Council is the only unitary authority in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA area.
Moreover, the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA state, in making their submission, that there is no clear consensus on the options consulted on. This seems not to be the case. There is overwhelming support within Peterborough for the establishment of a Peterborough PCT, co-terminus with the unitary Peterborough City Council. Even Cambridgeshire County Council supports a separate Peterborough PCT as they agree that a combined trust, based on the boundaries of two local authorities, both with responsibility for social services, would be unworkable.
A single Peterborough and Cambridgeshire PCT would be a retrograde step, breaking up an already excellent system and breaking down lines of accountability and scrutiny.
I ask you to intervene in this matter, backing your own White Paper's view that Peterborough's current model is an example of excellence.
MP for North West Cambridgeshire
The Government White Paper Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidanceArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4127453&chk=NXIecj